PARIS (AP) — Police arrested a man climbing Thursday on the Eiffel Tower, leading to visitors being temporarily stranded at the summit — including a reporter for The Associated Press and a Washington, D.C., couple who decided during the wait to get married.
Amir Khan had been planning to propose to Kat Warren later Thursday in a Paris garden away from the crowds, with a romantic dinner on the River Seine also on the menu.
But when the lifts were temporarily shut down because of the climber, stranding the couple and others at the top, Khan decided to spring his surprise.
Pat Eaton-Robb, an AP journalist from Connecticut who was also stuck up there, got their story.
“I figured we might be here longer than I imagined,” Khan told the AP reporter. “So I didn’t want to miss dinner and she always wanted to be proposed to on or under the Eiffel Tower. So I figured, ‘This is it, this is the moment.’”
And the answer?
“Yes,” of course.
“He had a pretty good chance of me saying ‘Yes’ all along,” Warren said, laughing.
Besides, when trapped at the top of a 1,083-foot (330-meter) tower, how can anyone say “No?”
Had that happened, “somebody else would be climbing the Eiffel Tower today possibly,” she joked.
The climber was found between the tower’s second and third floors, said Alice Beunardeau, communications director for the Paris landmark. A specialist team of climbing firefighters led the man down and police arrested him, she said.
Beunardeau said she’d been subsequently informed that the man was carrying a banner about American singer-songwriter Billie Eilish.
“I think it was ‘Free Billie Eilish,’” she said. “I’m not certain of that at this moment but on the face of it, that was the message.”
AP’s Eaton-Robb and his wife Kathleen have had a mis-adventurous weeklong visit to Paris: On Tuesday, they were also in a crowd that was evacuated from the Palace of Versailles because of a security scare.
John Leicester contributed from Le Pecq, France.